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The Message of John (Lesson 25)
"I have seen the Lord!" | John 20:18
"I have seen the Lord!”
John 20 records that after Jesus' crucifixion and burial, he rose from the dead on the third day.
This chapter tells us Mary Magdalene went to Jesus' tomb on the Sunday morning after his crucifixion. Upon arriving, they found the stone had been rolled away from the entrance and the body of Jesus was not there. Mary Magdalene ran frantically to tell Peter and John, as she assumed someone had stolen Jesus’ body.
Peter and John went for themselves to investigate, and found the tomb empty, with Jesus’ linen graveclothes lying there, neatly folded.
After the disciples left, Mary Magdalene stayed behind, weeping outside the tomb. Looking back into the tomb, she saw two angels sitting where Jesus' body had been. They asked her why she was weeping. She replied that she did not know where Jesus' body had been taken.
Turning around, she saw Jesus standing there, but did not recognize him at first. Jesus then asked her the same question as the angels, and she again gave the same response. It was only when Jesus said her name, Mary, that she realized who he was.
Immediately, she ran to tell the other disciples, "I have seen the Lord!"
"I have seen the Lord!"
—Mary Magdalene, in John 20:18
As we consider this pivotal event, it is of utmost importance to understand that the resurrection of Jesus is a historical event.
It’s not a legend or fable. It’s a true story.
Not only were the Gospel accounts written by eyewitnesses to the events they describe, but there is considerable historical evidence to support their claims.
The fact that Jesus' tomb was empty on the third day, despite being guarded by Roman soldiers, is compelling evidence that something extraordinary happened.
Additionally, the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus to his disciples and others, which are recorded in the Gospels, provide further evidence. Not to mention the graveclothes being neatly folded in the tomb.
Furthermore, if his body had been stolen by the Jewish leaders, all they would have had to do to stop the preaching of the resurrection would be to produce the body.
The resurrection is evidence that Jesus is who he claimed to be.
Throughout his ministry, Jesus made many claims about himself that were controversial and even blasphemous in the eyes of some.
For example, he claimed to be equal with God (John 10:30), having the authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:5-10).
The resurrection validates these claims by demonstrating that Jesus had the power and authority as our Creator-Savior to overcome sin and death.
The resurrection is a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.
The prophets of old foretold that the Messiah would rise from the dead (Psalm 16:10, Isaiah 53:10-11).
This fulfillment of prophecy provides further evidence of Jesus' deity and identity as the Son of God and Savior of sinners.
The resurrection confirms the truthfulness of Jesus' teaching.
Jesus' teachings about God, sin, salvation, and eternal life are central to a distinctively Christian worldview.
The fact that Jesus was resurrected from the dead confirms the truthfulness of everything he said, validating his authority not only as Savior but also as King.
We can trust everything Jesus said is true.
Jesus' resurrection is a victory over sin and death.
The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
Since each human is a sinner in need of salvation, the resurrection calls us to look to Jesus to pay the penalty our sins deserve in order to receive the gift of forgiveness, reconciliation with God, and the blessing of eternal life.
This gift is available to anyone who receives Jesus as their Savior and King.
Jesus' resurrection is a promise of our own resurrection.
The Bible teaches that all believers will one day be raised from the dead, just as Jesus was.
For example, in his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul provides further explanation of the promise of resurrection, writing,
"For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him" (1 Thessalonians 4:14).
He goes on to describe how this will happen, saying,
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first" (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
This promise gives us hope and comfort, knowing that death is not the end for those who believe.
One day, we will be able to say with Mary Magdalene, “I, too, have seen the Lord!”
What do you think it would have been like to be Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb?
Why is it important to understand Jesus' resurrection as a historical event?
What is the significance of the empty tomb and the neatly folded graveclothes in the story of Jesus' resurrection?
How does the resurrection validate Jesus' claims about himself?
How does Jesus' resurrection confirm the truthfulness of his teaching?
In what ways is Jesus' resurrection a victory over sin and death?
How does the resurrection of Jesus offer hope and comfort to believers today?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you that the resurrection of Jesus is not a legend or fable but is a true story.
Rising from the grave confirms the promise of the cross, confirming we are forgiven, accepted, and loved, and will experience eternal life with you forever.
Give us grace to follow Jesus as our risen Savior and King—all for your glory!
For we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.